On many streets, especially side streets, in the city you are only allowed to park on one side of the street. It alternates weekly and it isn't clearly posted. Watch where the locals are parking and park on the same side. The cops will ticket you and they will tow you.
On the other hand, when I had just moved to the city and still had my Indiana plates and had overparked at a meter downtown, the cop placed a friendly greeting to Duluth on my window and asked me to enjoy my stay but obey the traffic rules, which, I thought, was pretty cool.
Unless you come to Duluth specifically for Grandma's Marathon, and believe me thousands do, avoid Duluth if at all possible that weekend. And, if you do come, park your car and walk or use public transit. For that weekend, and especially the day of the marathon, the city is gridlocked. Typically Grandma's Marathon is run the third Saturday in June.
Always remember your coat, even in the middle of summer! One year we camped there the last week in July and the whole time we were there it was 50 degrees and foggy! But it can get hot too, so make sure you bring a little of everything along!
Even in the summer!
Be sure to bring a light jacket if you are visiting between May and October, and a heavier jacket during other months, just in case.
Remember that, due to the influence of Lake Superior, temperatures can stay in the 30's or lower 40's (that's roughly under 5° C for you celsius folks) on spring days as late as May, especially near the shore, where much of the tourist sports are. During the winter, you'll certainly need heavy cold-weather apparel, to brace yourself against certain days, some even sunny, on which temperatures will remain under 0° F or -18° C the entire day...or colder.
Duluth is a pretty safe city, with fairly low crime in most areas. However, a certain part of town does suffer from a moderate crime problem, Central Hillside. Central Hillside is perched up on the hill above downtown (as the name implies). Don't walk around here at night.
The Lift Bridge is a recognizable image of the city as well as a reminder of its important historical and economic link to the lake.
It was originally built in 1905 as an Aerial Lift Bridge, in which a gondola carried traffic across, but this design was modified in 1929.
Why is it listed as a Warning or Danger? Well, in the early '90s a woman was cut in half when she failed to leave the rising deck prior to a lift! Ouch. Since then new protocols have been put in place and cameras have been installed to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
Beware: Duluth has virtually no interesting places to eat out. Not one decent Italian restaurant -- Belissio's (Canal Park) is overpriced and tacky. Last year we welcomed our first Indian restaurant (India Palace) but otherwise you had best set your stomach for generic bar-food.
Since January 1st, 2006 there has been 20 street robberies in Lincoln Park, Central Hillside, and
East Hillside. Most of the robberies have occurred after dark and involve use of force and not
weapons. The victims are usually walking and alone and are confronted by multiple suspects. In
a couple of the cases a suspect approached, asked for a cigarette, and then attempts to rob the
There has been one arrest in recent weeks. Kalin Vaughn William Wenell-Jack 06/09/83 was
arrested and lodged at the St. Louis County Jail on 3/28/06. Wenell-Jack attempted to rob and
steal an elderly maleís vehicle in the 300 block of East 4th Street. No weapons were used.
Wenell-Jack was charged with First Degree Aggravated Robbery and Attempted Auto Theft.
Police investigators believe not all of the robberies are related. If anyone has any information on
these robberies please call the Duluth Police Departmentís Violent Crimes Unit at 730-5050.
Remember to practice good safety such being aware of your surroundings, avoiding dark areas
unlit areas at night, and call 911 to report suspicious activity.
Generally you are safe in Duluth, however our downtown is unlike most other cities this size - after business hours, the downtown is composed of street kids, drug addicts and drunks looking for money. There are major efforts underway to revitalize the downtown core (SMDC expansion) but it's going to be a few years before that happens. Duluth is a beautiful city, but it also becoming home to folks from other cities who have no money, and are here to participate in illegal activities and intimidate people. Enjoy Duluth, but use common sense at the same time.
I have lived in Duluth for most of my life and I will not walk by myself at night - especially in residential areas. If I am driving downtown at night, I make sure that my doors are locked. Exceptions to this are the Canal Park area and the Miller Hill Mall, which are well-policed and where there are usually a lot of tourists milling around.
Be careful maneuvering the steep hills, especially in winter. When you park, make sure you do a "hill park", with your wheels against the curb and your emergency brake locked in place; every few months, someone parks carelessly and their car rolls down the hill. This happened to one of my friends when her baby was in the backseat. Also exercise caution when walking on the hills in winter, since they are very slippery if they are not salted properly.
The Canal Park area can get quite loud in summer, when there are music festivals and other activities that continue into the wee hours of the morning. I would recommend staying at a hotel a little ways away from the commotion (especially during Blue's Fest), such as the Radisson or the Holiday Inn. These hotels are about an eight minute's walk from Canal Park (and both offer complementary shuttle service), but they are typically quieter than the hotels right on the waterfront.
When hotels say that they are connected to the DECC through a skyway system, be forewarned: the skyway is usually closed on Sundays. Sometimes, it also closes at odd hours (such as a few hours earlier than usual). The skyway is managed by the city, not the hotels, so a desk clerk won't always have the correct information. I worked at one of the downtown hotels during college, and the skyway was very frustrating. However, most hotels have a shuttle you can use if the skyway isn't open.
The seagulls seem to be everywhere in Duluth. If they smell food, they fly in quickly and will even snatch it out of your hands sometimes! And it is not unsual to be pooped on as they fly over, so watch out over head! One time we held a potato chip out the car window and drove very slow and we had a ton of them flying behind trying to get it! A lot of times we feed them our leftovers from the restaurants. Here you seen them fighting over some hot chili fries from Chi Chi's! Crazy birds!
I would avoid going into Lake Superior over my head while swimming. (Hypothermia could overtake even a strong swimmer very quickly as this is a very cold lake.) Don't let children play around on the waterfalls on the north shore. Many injuries and drownings have occurred over the years due to swift currents and dangerous slippery ledges.
As far as actual crime, I'm sure there are isolated incidents, but I've never felt unsafe while walking in Duluth. If you are a female,
I would use the same common sense you would normally use in a strange city, but
most people seem friendly and respectful
I would also keep an eye on drinking, as the
city has incredibly steep hills, a lot of one-way streets, and some confusing intersections. You don't need to add alcohol to the mix. Parking is a little frustrating at times, but once you find a spot, it seems
easy to get around in the Canal Park area on
foot during the day.
It was really foggy in Duluth the day of August 26th, 2004. This passanger cruise ship is about 30 yards from the pier and I could barely see it yet I could hear to voices of the passengers partying.
Watch out for the local kids on rollerblades, remember all most all of them play hockey and it shows.(pic. of the bridge from the walkway up the shore)